Yoshinobu Yamamoto has a geographic preference, but how important is it?
Yoshinobu Yamamoto will be one of the key free agents of the MLB offseason, coming over from the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan. He's expected to be posted next week, when a window will open where he can agree on a contract with any of the 30 teams.
Heyman reported previously that every big market is interested, and the Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers are also in. With that same rumor, he reported Yamamoto is believed to prefer the West Coast.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the West Coast preference from Yamamoto is being challenged by both the Yankees and Mets, both of them lending, "no credence" to the preference toward Pacifically-oriented teams.
The Yankees and Mets are evidently bullish that they can convince Yamamoto to sign with them after failing to lure Ohtani away from the West Coast years ago.
Practically, for a Japanese player, coming over to America and signing with a team on the West Coast makes sense since it's closer to the home country. California is also home to the most Japanese Americans of any state that houses an MLB team, making the cultural shift less of a shock.
A Pacific preference is logical, but what's missing from the information is the magnitude of importance Yamamoto places on his West Coast placement. Is this the most important factor, above even compensation and winning culture? Or is it more like a nice added bonus that might be a deal-breaking factor between two almost identical clubs?
Time shall tell, and with Yamamoto expected to get posted as early as Monday, it may tell soon.